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What’s in Store in 2013? NBAA’s Bolen Looks Ahead
As 2012 drew to a close, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said the Association and its Members would need to be vigilant as ever in the coming year, because members of Congress would likely need to find ways to cut costs and boost revenues as part of the “fiscal cliff” debate taking place in Washington.
“In this environment, we are obviously concerned about spending cuts and their impact on FAA programs like NextGen, but also the need for Washington to raise new revenue,” Bolen said.
The situation raises the specter of tax increases and the onus of a per-flight user fee, Bolen said. Proposed in White House budget plans, and considered in Congressional negotiations as one “revenue-raiser” to reduce the nation’s debt, a $100 per-flight user fee has evoked a strong response from the general aviation community and its supporters in Congress. “We know that ideas like a $100 per-flight fee…have been promoted, in some cases, promoted vigorously, over the last year or two, so I think we’re very concerned,” that user fees could again emerge as a “revenue raiser” in the coming Congressional session.
Also on the line in the upcoming session are potential changes to the depreciation schedules for business aircraft. NBAA strongly opposes any lengthening of depreciation schedules as that will likely discourage investment in business aviation.
Along with the need to target specific issues for advocacy by NBAA and its members in 2013, Bolen said it will be important to continue telling lawmakers – especially those new to Congress – about the importance of business aviation to the nation’s economy. Telling that story has been, and will remain, the central focus of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
“No Plane No Gain will be critical to our success in the new Congress,” Bolen said. As legislators look for ways to cut spending and increase revenue, they need to understand that an essential American industry – one still struggling with a challenging economy – shouldn’t be singled out with punitive policies.
“We hope [elected officials] will work with us to [achieve economic goals] in a way that does not destroy business aviation,” Bolen said. “We hope lawmakers will work with us to find even better ways to harness the strength and potential of this great industry.”